art of resistance, Israel, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

Anderson’s Bethlehem: Where do the children play.

Christopher Anderson was born in Canada and grew up in west Texas. He first gained recognition for his pictures in 1999 when he boarded a handmade, wooden boat with Haitian refugees trying to sail to America. The boat, named the Believe In God, sank in the Caribbean. In 2000 the images from that journey would receive the Robert Capa Gold Medal. They would also mark the emergence of an emotionally charged style that he refers to as “experiential documentary” and has come to characterize his work since. “Emotion or feeling is really the only thing about pictures I find interesting. Beyond that it is just a trick”, Anderson says.

He is well known and respected for many of his works, but to me, there are some that will always have a special place, and among the dearest is his Bethlehem series. I love how he manages to capture the brutality and limitations (like the wall, and numerous controls and checkpoints Palestinians face every day), because that is necessary – we need to be aware and need to “keep it real”. But, at the same time, Anderson does this wonderful thing – he also captures the freedom, the infinite beauty of a smile, or children’s play. We need that too, because that is where the power is hidden – power to change all those bad, “keep it real” facts. That is what keeps people alive, and not just merely surviving.

Artist statement

This is not how Mary and Joseph came into Bethlehem, but this is how you enter now. You wait at the wall. It’s a daunting concrete barricade, three stories high, thorned with razor wire. Standing beside it, you feel as if you’re at the base of a dam. Israeli soldiers armed with assault rifles examine your papers. They search your vehicle. No Israeli civilian, by military order, is allowed in. And few Bethlehem residents are permitted out, the reason the wall exists here, according to the Israeli government, is to keep terrorists away from Jerusalem.

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For more of the magic Anderson does, visit his official website.

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art of resistance, Israel, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

One photo.

PAR457261©Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos

 Sabah and Farah Abu Halima. Grandmother (47 yrs old) and granddaughter (6 yrs old) are seen in their home in Beit Lahia, Gaza, Palestine, 2012.

On January 4th 2009, during the Israeli ground invasion, there was a massive shelling and bombing throughout Gaza. The family, 16 members, was hiding in their home when it was hit and fire exploded everywhere. The explosion killed 12 members of the family included 5 kids, some of them were burned to death in front of Sabah, she said. While the wounded members of the family were taken to the hospital on a tractor, the Israeli soldiers stopped them on the way and shot them, killing three of them.
Farah, now 6 yrs old, suffered from burns all over her body and she was treated in California for 1 year. Ghada, Farah’s mother,
died 6 month later in an Egyptian hospital. Now Farah’s grandmother, Sabah, takes care of her. Also Sabah was severely injured,
she lost her husband and also one of her daughters died in her arms while she was breast-feeding.

For more of Pellegrin’s photography, go to his Magnum profile.

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art of resistance, Syria, travel, Turkey

From Croatia to Syria (on a bicycle).

Three years ago, my friend Siniša Glogoški, photographer, traveler, a wanderer of the world, took his bike and rode it from Croatia to Syria (more than 4000 kilometers).

It was a journey of revelation – revelation of the unknown, of the beauty of the landscape, faces of the people, and everything that’s moving and vibrating around him, and – very important – it was a revelation of what’s inside, of the inner strength, of the will to continue (it was a hot summer, and being on a bike for a looong time can get exhausting).

Siniša did it. He moved his boundaries, went beyond. His stories about the journey are full of desert stars at night, children running, tranquility of morning silence… He brought it with him, and it seems so bittersweet remembering it now, when Syria faces such harsh times.

Be sure to watch his video, embark on a journey with him for five minutes.

And here are some of the photos.

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1962725_617223848332134_300289296_nall photos © Siniša Glogoški

For more of Siniša’s adventures and inspiring stories, visit his facebook page.

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art of resistance, Israel, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

Everyday people of Palestine and Israel.

Valentine Vermeil is a French photographer. She  chose documentary photography as her means of expression, where identities are laid bare, where encounters prevail allowing her to discover reality. Her photographic approach is close to poetic documentary, she is inspired by the factual data of a place, situation or personality and attempts to transcend this in order to show a glorified reality. Her subject of choice is mankind’s identity as a social being bound to its homeland.

All of that is visible in her great photo series Bab-el or Everyday people.

Artist statement:

The first time I went to Israel I took all the stereotypes that stand out in the 19th Century Orientalist reproductions of the « Holy Land » with me. I had built a mental picture that fitted the symbol of the name ; “Palestine”, mentioned on old maps, made me long to meet people and to confront reality.

While traveling across Israel and the occupied territories, I saw many opposing dialectics and cultures. A Muslim culture in which each event is reinforced by the grace of God, and a Jewish culture that links the tragic history of its people with a need to defend itself and to have absolute supremacy. In spite of international disagreement, the settlements expand and economic discrimination continues. Xenophobia, violence and imprisonment are daily occurrences.

Everyday People” is about the country as a whole, in all its complexity. A country that has been described, since time immemorial, as the land of milk and honey; a country that, since 1948, has never stopped confining itself in dominant beliefs about its neighbouring countries and their people. I like to consider that this land was once a gigantic Tower of Babel, before God decided to mix up languages and divide Men by fear if they defied him. These photographs deliberately differ from media coverage and the fantasies this specific region stirs up. The purpose of my work is to highlight what brings people together, such as relationships and belonging to a group, whether it is social, ethnic or religious, specifically through the eyes of women in these communities: womb-women baring hope, generosity and life.

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everyday_vermeil79all photos © Valentine Vermeil

To see more photos with descriptions, go to picturetank. For more of Vermeil’s amazing(ly) captured moments, visit her official website.

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art of resistance, Israel, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

Walk the (Green) Line by Francis Alÿs.

Francis Alÿs is a Belgian artist who has created a diverse body of artwork that explores urbanity, spatial justice, and land-based poetics. In 2004 Alÿs walked along the armistice border in Jerusalem, known as ‘the green line’, carrying a can filled with green paint. The bottom of the can was perforated with a small hole, so the paint dripped out as a continuous squiggly line on the ground as he walked. 

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© Francis Alÿs

Sometimes doing something poetic can become political
and sometimes doing something political can become poetic.

In this work the artist walks the Green Line through Jerusalem, a temporary cease-fire boundary created initially by the UN after the Arab-Israeli war of 1947–48 but redrawn by the Israeli authorities in 2004 as a more permanent barrier that incorporates gains made at the expense of Jordan after the Six Day war in 1967.

Alÿs restricted his walking to a 15-mile stretch through a divided Jerusalem, a hike that took him down streets, through yards and parks, and over rocky abandoned terrain. In a film of the walk made with Julien Devaux, Philippe Bellaiche and Rachel Leah Jones, he seems to attract little notice. He takes no sides, he makes no political statements – he’s just walking, pointing out things without words.

Shortly after this walk, a filmed documentation of the walk was presented to a number of people whom he invited to react spontaneously to the action and the circumstances within which it was performed. Video interviews from The Green Line include talks with Rima Hamami (Jerusalem – anthropologist), Albert Agazarian (Jerusalem – historian),  Yael Dayan (Tel Aviv – member of Knesset), Jean Fisher (London – art historian),  Ruben Aberjil (Jerusalem – activist), Amira Hass (Ramallah – journalist), Nazmi Jobeh (Jerusalem – architect), Eyal Sivan (Tel Aviv and Paris – filmmaker), Eyal Weizman (Tel Aviv and London – architect), Michel Warschawski (Jerusalem – activist).

Watch it all, it is much more than just  “artsy stuff”, Alÿs and his socio-political intervention bring attention to great issues that became so normal, so familiar, that we even forget that they are issues. Let us be reminded, let us act.

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Islam, travel

The simplicity of Zagreb’s Mosque.

I went to visit Zagreb’s mosque and Islamic cultural centre this weekend. I’ve been living in Zagreb for six years, but I never went there before, so – it was about time to visit it! Zagreb Mosque is the biggest in Croatia, its construction began in 1981, and had finished in 1987.  I like that it is very simple, and manages to escape the kitsch so often found in religious places.

I took some photos, of course, so – feel free to have a peek!

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IMG_1751all photos © Ivana Perić/Middle East Revised

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art of resistance, South Sudan

Remembering Camille Lepage: Vanishing Youth (South Sudan).

Camille Lepage,  26-year-old French photojournalist who had spent months documenting deadly conflict in Central African Republic has been killed, the French presidency said this week. She was a freelance photographer whose work was published in major French and American newspapers. But talking about her and her essence – she was courage and a spark – of hope, compassion, love.

Lepage worked in South Sudan before moving to Central African Republic. In an interview with the photography blog PetaPixel, she said she was drawn to covering forgotten conflicts.

“I want the viewers to feel what the people are going through. I’d like them to empathize with them as human beings, rather than seeing them as another bunch of Africans suffering from war somewhere in this dark continent,” she said. “I wish they think: `Why on Earth are those people in living hell; why don’t we know about it and why is no one doing anything?’ I would like the viewers to be ashamed of their government for knowing about it without doing anything to make it end.”

Today, with this sad news, I wish to post a part of her photo essay from South Sudan – Vanishing Youth (she, in a way – dying at the age 0f 26, belongs to that vanished youth now too). Still, her life had a meaning, a huge one, and I post this to keep her mission alive. Thank you for all your efforts, Camille.

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To see more of Lepage’s work, visit her website.

Keep her alive by respecting her work, sharing it and – acting on it.

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